tv CNN Newsroom CNN September 13, 2014 4:00pm-4:31pm PDT
this is cnn breaking news. hello, everyone. i'm randi kaye in new york. breaking news tonight here. an isis video released today appears to show the terrorist group has executed another hostage. british aide worker, david haynes. the video entitled "a message to the allies of america" was posted to twitter today, and does look similar to previous videos we saw showing the beheadings of american journalist james foley and steven sotloff. the executioner who sounds like the same man who appeared in these previous videos directly threatens british prime minister david cameron. >> you're evil allies of america, which continues to strike the muslims of iraq and most recently bombed the hadifa dam will only accelerate your destruction and play in the role, cameron. will only drag you and your
people into another bloody and unwinnable war. >> haynes was helping to provide humanitarian relief in syria when he was abducted last year, march 2013. the 44-year-old is a long-time aide worker who has helped victims of conflict since 1999. that's according to a paris-based relief organization. joining me now, senior international correspondent nic robertson, cnn military analyst, rick francona. national security analyst bob baer and chief national security correspondent, jim sciutto also joining us as well. jim sciutto, to you first on this. what have you been able to learn since this news has broken? >> randi, first, thoughts go out to david haynes' family and friends. just a horrible event and so widely publicized and seen by the world. it's the first thing that comes to mind. the second, we're getting another very bitter taste of how brutal this group is.
and the length they're willing to go to terrorize. and, you know, another thought that comes to mind is this. a lot of attention has been focused since the killings, beheadings of james foley, american, steven sotloff, an american on this presumed killer, this voice that we hear and face we see in these videos. that british voice, shocking enough when it was a -- apparently a britain killing americans. even more shocking, of course, here that it would be a britain killing a britain here and taking his aim at what presumably is his own country. in such a visible and brutal way. and you know, it's just a sad event to watch. and the intelligence officials i speak to, they were bracing themselves for this. they knew that isis had a britain in custody, in addition to others. and in addition, they believe to other americans as well. so sadly, this is something they
were expecting. >> colonel francona, you're shaking your head. >> this is just horrific. i think we knew this could happen. we sort of expected it, because the british have not backed down. the british have joined the coalition. and this is clearly a message to anybody that wants to join with the americans. the isis regards the americans as the ones who are leading the charge against them. and you can see from secretary kerry's movements around the region, he is trying to galvanize all of the arab states and the turks to fight isis. and, of course, we always rely on the british as our closest allies to do that. and this is a message, a warning, and a challenge to the british. i think the isis wants to have this fight. and this is just another step toward that goal. >> you know, we talk a lot about strategy. but nic robertson, it's certainly a time also to remember david haynes. what more can you tell us about him? >> well, we're now hearing from the british prime minister, who is tweeting.
he says the murder of david haynes is an act of pure evil. my heart goes out to his family, who have shown extraordinary courage and fortitude. and he goes on to say, we will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers, ensuring they face justice, however long it takes. david haynes came from scotland, from a town of perth, 44 years old. an aide worker for a frencho aie organization, working for them for about ten years. worked in many countries around the world, trying to help the less fortunate people. he was picked up after a day working at a refugee camp, looking at how to establish another refugee camp inside syria. and just as he was driving out of the country back towards turkey, that's when he was picked up. it happened very quickly, very professionally, according to people who saw this, who witnessed it. and he was paraded before the camera following the brutal
murder of steven sotloff. and it's just been 11 days since that happened. and now we see him killed as well here, randi. >> yeah. and nic, i think you said the british prime minister is saying they will do whatever it takes. that is pretty strong language, bob baer, right, coming from a country that was sort of on the fence about supporting his coalition. >> of i think they'll eventually catch these people. i think they'll identify him. you'll have defectors that do voice analysis and the rest of it, going through social analytics. but there's something else i would like to add. don't forget, this group is slaughtering muslims, as well. and whether they're shia or sunni or anybody who opposes them. they are trying to go back to a pure form of what they conceive to be islam at the beginning. and they have completely got it wrong. and it's almost preislamic what they're doing, cutting off people's head. and what i have seen in history,
in this part of the world, is that people start to turn against them. and the question is, how forecast everyone will turn against them and how much damage they'll do in the meantime. >> we have seen this in the past and we'll criteria the anbar awakening as a prime example of this. when al qaeda and iraq was setting up the islamic state in iraq, at some point, the sunnis that live in that area said we didn't sign up for this raddica brand theology. and at some point we're going to see that again. many of the people who are allied with isis, particularly on the iraqi side, iraqi military people who are so anti shia right now that it has blinded their judgment. at some point, they're going to wake up and say, this is not what we signed up to do. this is way beyond the islam that we know. and at that point, we will see the turn. but we're not there yet. the problem is, we've got to get to that point.
>> rick, i think we're close. i keep on hearing these people are frustrated, they have to do something about isis. you're absolutely right. we need a second awakening. if this administration fails to take advantage of, you know, these people, their emotions now, and they're unhappy about this beheading, i can tell you. it would be a big mistake. and i think we really do need a second awakening. we have to really drill down on that and get something moving. >> yeah, let me bring in cnn correspondent jomani. what have you been -- i know it's late in the night there. have you been getting any sense of a reaction there from this latest beheading? >> reporter: well, this is very similar to reaction we've heard in the past. there's nothing yet that has been released. but again, iraqis will tell you they condemn this and they live this every single day almost. they see this sort of brutality from this group like they have seen in the past with al qaeda
and iraq. but now on a much larger and more brutal scale, controlling large parts of their cities. we have seen some horrific videos that have come out, randi, like the -- massacre that took place at an air base here north of baghdad in the city of a former u.s. base about hundreds of shia recruits were taken by isis there, and they are believed to be up to 1700 who have been killed. so iraqis now are seeing this brutality and their hopes, as your guests were saying earlier, there will be a second awakening. this is going to be very difficult to achieve right now. it's going to take time to try and regain the trust of the sunnis and try and undo what prime minister nouri al maliki and shia government and security forces have done over the past few years to try and bring back the sunnis who are key. one expert i was speaking to earlier, randi, said unless you win the sunnis of iraq the
battle here against isis is not going to -- it's going to take a very long time. >> jim sciutto, national security correspondent, still with us by phone. jim, so no reaction there from the administration yet. when they do react, what do you expect? how will this go? >> i think they will express solidarity to the british government. to this point, they have been leaving the comment to the u.k. for understandable reasons. this is not an american. but you should expect expressions of support, and echoing david cameron's tweet a few moments ago, saying this is pure evil that we're seeing here. and that echos some of the rhetoric you have heard from the administration. just another thought in light of point others have made in the last couple minutes. this is, of course, a threat to the u.k. and as the video is entitled, a threat to america's allies who are participating in the offensive against isis. but the fact is, whether or not these countries participate, they're already a target. you have -- you have hundreds of
british citizens, nationals, who have gone and joined this fight. you have french, dutch, you have many from other parts of the world. and they -- whether they're governments or western or arab, christian or muslim, they view them all as not muslim enough. and are willing to kill them on the battlefield or frankly back home. and so there's -- yes, it's a threat. yes, you can view it as a price of participation in this. but the fact is, these countries, our country included, are already a target of these groups. so it's not -- you know, you're damned if you do, you're damned if you don't, really, to some degree. and i think that's just something we should be aware of here. that the price these guys are willing to kill anyone, anywhere, who doesn't meet their sick standard of being a proper muslim. and the truth is, they killed not only shia muslims. they killed sunni muslims who
aren't radical enough. and they certainly will kill westerners, whether or not -- or attempt to kill westerners, whether or not their countries, governments participate in this military action against isis. >> we're also joined now by phone. we're being joined by colonel cedrick leighton, former member of joint chiefs of staff. colonel, welcome to you. you have been following coverage, listening to discussion. first, what do you make of this tragic news, and does it change the priorities here? does it change the strategy? >> well, randi, i think it's obviously a horrible and tragic event. as we have been discussing here. the key thing is that it will not only accelerate i think in the u.s. and i believe also u.k. response to everything that is going on, but it will also galvanize movements within the pentagon and the u.s. government, especially the white house, to alter the strategy, to
make the strategy a much more direct strategy and much more kinetic strategy, i think, than they had originally planned on doing. of i think the gradual approach that the administration has outlined, i would think is -- in essence, not meeting the needs of the moment. and in this particular case, you've got the islamic state, isis, going in and killing all of the hostages they've got. they're basically going down their list. and when they do this, that has to galvanize our forces to do more to free those hostages and to stop this killing. and if it doesn't do that, then we are in more trouble than we realize at this point. >> nic robertson, you have spoken with some of the tribal leaders affiliated with isis. what are they telling you? >> yeah, there's a couple of things about the conversations i was having with one tribal
leader who was associated with isis in this advance through the north of iraq in june. one of the questions i asked him, i said, what happens when isis does something utterly barbaric? what are you going to do then? and he said, well, we're strong enough to take them on. we can take them on. but, you know, as we talked further and further, he said, look, we're not allied with isis. we're allied with baghdadi. and i think there's an important -- there are some important things we should look at here. the awakening back in 2006-2007 which got rid of the old al qaeda out of iraq, the tribes in iraq and this tribal leader i was talking to was one of them. one of the reasons they rose up against al qaeda and iraq back then was because that al qaeda had essentially usurped their power. and they could see their own power dwindling. these are tribal leaders who control their tribes because
they can -- because they have influence over them. they set justice, they settle disputes. all those sorts of things. they no longer have that power. that was part of their motivation, to rise up against al qaeda. baghdadi has learned from al qaeda. so when this tribal leader says to me, we have a good relationship with baghdadi, you've got to understand that baghdadi knows better how to treat these tribal leaders and how to keep them on side. so awakening is the way forward. but it may not be as easy to pull it off as it was back in '06-'07. >> colonel francona, we have talked about the fact the u.s. has announced these air strikes, which i know you don't think was a very good idea to actually announce it. but one thing they haven't done is give a time line. do you expect that something like this would push up the time line? >> yeah. colonel leighton said something very important here. this will galvanize the pentagon to accelerate their planning. i think that we have been
looking at this in two pieces. we look at an iraq piece and syrian piece. and everyone is focusesed on the iraq piece first. and jomana said, we have blunted the momentum. stopped the momentum with the air strikes. and the iraqi army starting to stand up and the peshmerga making advances in the north. so we have stopped the advance. now we're going to roll them back up and push them back toward the syrian border. most what have we're seeing happen is taking place in raqqa, in the self-proclaimed capital of the islamic state where isis is headquartered. and i think this is going to change our equation on maybe we shouldn't be looking at this squengsly. maybe we need to look at this simultaneously. so we may see air strikes in syria on a much more accelerated scale. and i think that's important, because we need to look at this as one target set. not two target sets, which we have been doing. and i think this might be the catalyst that moves the pentagon toward that thing. so we may see air strikes sooner than later. that may be an unintended
consequence of what happened on the isis planning. >> understood. i want to share with our viewers just a little bit more about david haynes. take a moment and -- for a closer look at who david haynes was. >> david haynes was a father and a husband. but he was also a hostage of isis, the islamic state in iraq and syria. captured in march 2013, working at a syrian refugee camp for french aide group, acted. haynes had more than a decade of experience doing aide work, providing logistics to handicap international and working as an unarmed peacekeeper with nonviolence peace force. he grew up in scotland, proudly wearing a kilt for his wedding. his family has declined to comment. his wife waits for with their 4-year-old daughter in croatia where they live. his teenage daughter makes it clear online how much she misses her father by answering just three questions. what's missing in your life that would make you very happy?
my dad being at home, she answers. as his family waited, david haynes had become a pawn in the game of hostages now played by isis. atika schubert, cnn, london. >> let me get straight to nic robertson in london. nic, you have new information. >> reporter: yeah, we understand now the prime minister, david cameron, is going to head back to ten downing street, his office. and tomorrow we're told, tomorrow morning, he'll hold what is known here as a cobra meeting. this is the top level cabinet security meeting. he will meet with all his senior security officials, defense, security, police, all those -- all home office, all top-level security officials, as well as other cabinet members will be there. this is really an indication of just how seriously he is taking this latest development. randi? >> and nic, give us a sense while i have you just how much of a threat isis is within -- i
guess in terms of recruiting and in terms of british citizens joining up and fighting the cause. how much of a threat is isis within britain? >> it's a huge threat. it is recognized at the moment. and the threat level went up just recently based on that here, that threat -- an attack could be imminent. the understanding here is that many hundreds, possibly 500 young men from britain have gone, transited through turkey and joined isis. and they're fighting with them. some of them want to come back. some of them have come back. some of them have been arrested. some of them are standing trial right now for what they have done inside syria. the government is trying to find ways at the moment to tackle that. they're trying to figure out if they can essentially take their passports away from them when they come back. in essence, deny them statehood. they're not able it to do that, but they have increased the police powers to question these people when they come back to remove their passports for a
predetermined time. a period of time that can then be extended. and, of course, the concern beyond that is that these men will come back to britain with the aim of perpetrating attacks with their lessons learned inside syria. britain is familiar with this methodology, it has seen it several times over with people coming back from pakistan and al qaeda training camps there. they build not -- they not only learn how to build bombs, but they build networks, and it's those networks of communication between these different groups, not only in britain, but the between these different groups throughout europe that makes them hard to thwart. it is a major concern here right now. >> yeah. isis has reached into all of these countries and throughout the region. it's just terrifying, quite honestly. i want to continue this conversation and continue to share the very sad news about britain -- the beheading of another british citizen, david haynes. we'll continue that and we'll
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this is cnn breaking news. hello, everyone, i'm randi kaye. it appears the militant group isis has done it again, executed a western hostage and put the graphic evidence on the internet. the apparent victim this time, a british aide worker, david haynes. 44 years old, abducted a year-and-a-half ago while working to help refugees at a camp in syria. haynes is a third isis captive whose death was recorded and the video released to the internet. both haynes and his killer spoke on camera. the mass executioner railing against britain for its involvement in air strikes against isis positions in iraq. the video then shows another man believed to be british citizen allen henning. isis militants then threaten his life, just as they have before with the others. joining me now, senior international correspondent, nic
robertson, cnn military analyst, colonel rick francona, national security analyst, bob baer. first to cnn political commentator, ben ferguson, also joining us. ben, you say this will spur david cameron to act. >> absolutely. and i think it's going to make david cameron's position that he laid out in parliament even more clear. and many of the citizens will rally behind him after seeing this. and what we should all take away from this is no one is exempt from the list of isis. if you think that if you don't take the lead in a nation or you hold back a little bit or you don't call it war against isis, that your citizens are going to be exempt, you're lying to yourself. isis wants to fight everyone that they believe disagrees with their life or gets involved in any way. and i think david cameron now is going to have the ability to go and look at other allies and take this lead and say they are going to come after our citizens, they're coming after your citizens, and it's time for us to take on isis.
and i need your full support. and i think he's going to get it from a lot of people. because isis is not going to go away on its own. >> let me bring in christopher dickey, former editor of the daily beast, joining us by phone. christopher, i'm sure you've been following breaking news here for the last couple hours or so. tell me your initial thoughts. >> well, my initial thought is pretty much in agreement with the previous comment, which is that isis wants this fight. it wants to bring the west into the war. it may regret wishing for that at some point. but that is what it's trying to do. even as it tells david cameron back off, as it tells obama to back off, they're not fools. they know these beheadings are inciting public opinion in the united states and britain. the question is, what are the united states and britain and their allies actually going to do about it? i think isis believes that they can create enough confusion in the region, which god knows is already confused enough, so they can essentially continue to
operate and that the kinds of a lines the west is trying to build, while this may be hard to understand for many westerners, are not going to hold together well. and i think we have already seen a phenomenal alliance that secretary kerry is putting together is a very shaky one indeed. >> so bob baer, in terms of what we know about who is ordering these horrific beheadings, what is our intelligence on where these people are, and who is making the calls? >> the last known spot they were outside raqqa in a military facility that belonged to the syrians. the assumption, as i understand, is that after the release of hostages, they're quickly moved to other locations. there's no clear, you know, signals going in the hostage takers you could follow. and that's why the rescue earlier this summer failed. i think they got to the right site, but they had already been moved. these people are aware that we
have an ability to scoop up everything out of the air. and that's why they go to mobile wi-fi, for instance. or they go to internet cafes to communicate. one-time communications. and in the military, delta force and s.e.a.l.s like to have some sort of real-time intelligence. and eyes on the hostages, which they couldn't get. it was a brave raid, but if the intelligence isn't any good,it not any good. >> right. colonel francona, what does this mean for boots on the ground? has this changed that? >> this might. you know, as we see more and more horrific acts and we see isis not backing down, and the difficulty in assembling a coalition of anyone willing to do this, i think it's becoming clear to the united states that we can't outsource this. that if this is a threat to the united states, and if we need to have this fight, as christopher said, isis certainly wants to have this fight. if we mean to do this, we're going to have to do it ourselves. and i know that it is a politically difficult thing for the united states to do.
we're tired of war. the american people are tired of war. the administration does not want to take us to another war. but at some point, we are being taken into this. the other side gets a vote, as well, as to whether there is going to be a war. and i'm afraid that at some point it's going to be american boots on the ground. >> colonel cedrick leighton is also with us. colonel, take us inside, if you can -- i should mention, you're a former mention of the joint chiefs of staff. take us inside if you can to the war room. what will be some of the discussions. nic robertson mentioned that tomorrow british prime minister david cameron will be meeting with his advisers. what is happening right now and should be happening right now in terms of the obama administration and the discussions going on? >> well, randi, the basic thing that would happen, first within the pentagon, the various joint staff members would get together. there will probably be a session of the joint chiefs of staffs themselves, the heads of all of the military services and the
chairman and vice chairman. and they will probably provide further refined options to the president. and that will, of course, include collaboration with central command, which is the unified command that is responsible for the middle east for this region of the world. and then the white house, of course, will be following this. they will convene their own principles as they call it, which is a level where they will, you know, look at the different possibilities that are there that will take the war planning to an area where what can be done, what is feasible, what targets do we have, what do we know, how good is the intelligence, how accurate is that. and do we need further intelligence. and so based on all of the things that they look at, they will look at what we can possibly do in the near-term, how long it would take to mount an effective operation against the islamic state fighters and
what would happen, you know, in that case, what are the consequences of this and how likely would it be that they're what they call collateral damage. in other words, the inadvertent killing of civilians or noncombatants or something like this. so there is going to be a lot of work that goes on in this, and it wouldn't surprise me if elements of this process aren't meeting already. >> i want to share also a little bit about david cameron. he was tweeting, british prime minister actually tweeting. he sent this out. the murder of david haynes is an act of pure evil. my heart goes out to his family who have shown extraordinary courage and fortitude. nic robertson, we know the family, his family had sent that message to isis. we are asking those holding david to make contact with us. they didn't hear anything back. but coming up tomorrow, i believe you said there is a very critical meeting that the british prime minister will hold. what do we expect from that? >> we will expect a very firm statement from